Army winter conference begins

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Service communications efforts may take center stage as the Association of the United States Army's annual winter conference opens today.

The AUSA 2004 winter symposium and exhibition, titled "Balancing the Army to Support the Joint Force Commander," may highlight the service's communications systems strategy, restructuring of the signal corps, announcement of the first performance-based information technology task order and computer simulation of the Future Combat System's mobile, ad hoc network.

Initiatives to make Army forces smaller, cohesive and more deployable and to fix aviation, including cancellation of the RAH-66 Comanche scout helicopter program, dominated the first eight months of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker's four-year term.

Schoomaker and chief information officer Lt. Gen. Steve Boutelle met several times in recent months to discuss procurement of commercial satellite transponder time and the future of the $10 billion Warfighter Information Network-Tactical program. Schoomaker and Boutelle are scheduled to speak Mar. 5 at the conference.

The Enterprise Information Systems division of the Program Executive Office, located at Fort Belvoir, Va., expects to announce the first Information Technology Enterprise Solutions order soon. The Enterprise Information Systems' executive officer Kevin Carroll will attend the show.

And officials from the Training and Doctrine Command (Tradoc), located at Fort Monroe, Va., may divulge plans to shake down the FCS network using computer simulation. Tradoc commanding general Kevin Byrnes speaks today at the event. Byrnes said in October he considers 2004 the year of the FCS network.

A briefing given Feb. 24 to the House Armed Services Committee by Army Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff of Operation] discussed creating a modular army, fixing aviation, restructuring the force and stabilizing it. The report did not address Army communications efforts.

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